New Jersey has a lot of beautiful wildlife, including deer. Fall is deer mating season, so you may start noticing a lot more deer crossing the roadways. Increased deer crossing is one of the reasons why fall is a really dangerous time to drive.
Animal collisions cause millions of accidents each year
According to State Farm, there were nearly 2 million car insurance claims last year due to collisions with animals. These types of accidents increase dramatically in October and then peak in November. A combination of increased deer activity and decreased daylight during the fall is likely to blame.
Why deer are so dangerous in the fall
Deer start acting up in the fall because the males are chasing the females. Sometimes, the bucks pursue the does across busy streets. Deer are also notoriously poor road crossers because of the extra photoreceptors in their eyes. A “deer in the headlights” is a deer that is literally blinded by a car’s headlights.
During the fall, you should expect to see more deer between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. when they are most active. Since this is also when you are likely to have your headlights on, be aware that the deer you see could be blinded by your vehicle.
How to drive safely around deer
You should be extra vigilant while driving near wooded areas and deer crossing signs. Slow down if you notice deer on the roadside, and never swerve to avoid deer because it increases the chances of you getting into an auto accident.
If you see a deer in your path, it’s safer to break and potentially hit the deer than to swerve and risk hitting another car. Swerving may also confuse the deer, and you could still end up hitting the animal you were trying to avoid. You should always remember that whenever you see one deer, there are likely to be more deer close by.
Recovering after a deer accident
If you were involved in an accident with a deer, your car repairs and medical bills may be compensable in an insurance claim. Even if the accident was only a minor fender bender, you may be entitled to compensation.